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Palit Radeon HD 4870 Sonic Dual Edition
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by Rob Williams on October 7, 2008 in AMD-Based GPU

It’s no secret that the HD 4870 is one of the best overall GPUs on the market right now, but with so much selection from vendors, it’s hard to choose the “best” one. Palit has a definite winner with their Sonic Dual Edition though. It’s pre-overclocked, runs 20°C cooler than the reference design and carries no cost premium.

Need for Speed: ProStreet

Where the racing genre is concerned, there are few games like Need for Speed. The first title launched in 1994, and since then, the series has done well to stick to its roots by offering an exciting racing experience that doesn’t hinge on being a simulator, like Gran Turismo or Forza. Instead, it delivers close to an arcade-like experience, which seems to be preferred by most people. EA has also kept incredibly regular with the series, having released sixteen different versions in a fourteen year span. That’s impressive.

What wasn’t impressive was ProStreet, however, as it took the franchise and turned it upside down. Sometimes reinventing a series is a good thing, but with concern to this game, EA should have left things as they were. The developers realized they goofed though, and the upcoming Undercover game (slated for a Nov. 17 release) looks to bring the series back on track. On release, we’ll replace ProStreet with Undercover in our testing.

ProStreet offers a wide-range of graphics options, allowing you to intricately tweak the game to work on your machine, regardless of what hardware you have. However, even when using maxed out detail settings, the game is still playable enough to complete a reliable benchmarking run, so we take that route. We also enable anisotropic filtering and 4x anti-aliasing.

This game in particular seems to favor NVIDIA-based GPUs, but the HD 4870 still manages to have a good showing, being out-performed only by the GTX 280 and 9800 GX2. For some unknown reason, I did not have good luck with re-benchmarking the game using an HD 4870 X2, as you can see in the graph. This might not be entirely representative of real-world gameplay, as when that card was first reviewed, I saw far better performance results. Whether this is the fault of the card or the game, I’m unsure.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
Palit 9800 GX2 1GB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
111.112 FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
93.939 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB Sonic
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
84.196 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
81.253 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX 512MB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
66.830 FPS
ASUS HD 4850 512MB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
64.861 FPS
Gigabyte 9600 GT 512MB
1920×1200 Max Detail, 4xAA
52.189 FPS

Since ProStreet tops out at 1920×1200, which happens to be far less intensive than 2560×1600, all GPUs in our lineup could run the game fine with our topped-out settings. Our HD 4870′s performed almost as well as the GTX 280, which is good to see given the obvious pricing differences.